Legal Marijuana and Family Law

BarristerThe abuse of alcohol is often a factor in contested child custody and access hearings. While “social” drinking has never been a concern, where a parent has a history of alcoholism, binge drinking, or drinking and driving, a court will seriously examine whether alcohol abuse is present and take steps to ensure children are protected from its impact.

With the legalization of marijuana in Washington State and Colorado, and the introduction of decriminalization bills in New Jersey, Texas and New Hampshire, family court judges will be faced with a fresh dilemma. When smoking marijuana was against the law, it was clear: a parent who broke the law may not be a suitable custodial parent in some jurisdictions. More often both parents engaged in the activity so the issue never saw the light of day in a courtroom.

But in states where marijuana is now legal and government regulated, it can’t be any different from the consumption of alcohol, which is not a problem unless it results in dangerous behavior affecting the child.

Also consider whether smoking pot in a state where it is not legal but has been decriminalized is any different? Marijuana advocates, who favour legalization, realize that in many jurisdictions legalized pot may be difficult to achieve, but who can argue against decriminalizing marijuana possession in small amounts?

It is inevitable that the legalization/decriminalization debate will come to Canada, particularly if the Liberals are able to oust the Conservative Harper government.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

Husband Refuses to Share Wheel of Fortune Jackpot With Wife

Scott and Carrie Dole were on TV, jumping for joy and embracing after Scott scooped up $51,600 as a Wheel of Fortune winner. However, the joy turned to resentment and then litigation when the previously separated couple split up a month after the win, and Carrie wanted her share of the prize.

During their previous separation Carrie had filed for divorce and although she instructed her lawyer to discontinue the action, it remained alive, so once the couple separated for the last time, she added a new claim to the divorce petition seeking one-half of the winnings.

Her lawyer argued that since the couple had reconciled and traveled and attended the Wheel of Fortune television taping together, the money ought to be shared between them as community property under Washington State family law.

Scott Dole was adamantly opposed to splitting the winnings and suggested that a monetary gift from his father to the two of them during the marriage provided a set-off to his windfall monies.

The Court disagreed with Mr. Cole who, after losing the case, confirmed that he had expected the court to divide the funds 50/50 and that he intended to give his half-share to charity.

The obvious question arises “Why would he fight his ex over this issue when he apparently knew he had a losing case and didn’t need the money anyway?”

Simple answer: It’s called family law litigation. Rationality seems to flee from some divorce litigants who would rather pay a lawyer than give in to their spouse. Sad and stupid.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang